You might think this is an ordinary obituary, so you should be reading boring statistics about the lady you see in the picture, but you would be wrong. It is much more than a story about her life. This is a tale of love, a triumph over loss, and ultimately overcoming loneliness.
You see, this is about my mother-in-love and father-in-love. They are together now. They are where they belong. And as hard as this is to write, and
as hard as this is to do, it is with every ounce of me I know they are holding hands and smiling right now.
When you are reading about this lady pictured on this obituary you are not reading about a perfect person. You are not reading about a lady we can say was the “best” or the “sweetest”. Some would even call her the “orneriest” of them all. But there is one thing I will forever and always know, whomever she chose to love, boy did she love them. I am one of the lucky few. Through all the questionable comments, through all the laughter and tears, Barbara Irene Lutz loved.
Barbara “Barb” Irene Lutz left us and reunited with her beloved Mikey on May 6, 2020 at the tender age of 75. We are sure she did it because she just could not stand being away from him any longer and wanted to be “running on pain free legs” beside her kitties and husband.
Barb lived in San Tan Valley, Arizona with her youngest son Ted and his family for the past five years. Prior to her move, Barb spent her time in Rohnert Park, California. Before she retired, Barb worked for various doctors at Kaiser Permanente for 20 years. It was only after the loss of her husband that she chose to leave the place she had known for so long.
Known as Barb to most, her infectious laugh and love of anything cuddly and cute, endeared her to all who met her. She was a woman who showed her many sides of her personality in her golden years and perfected her “salty side” with no question. Many times, her fist would ball up and shake as she would say, “give me that phone, I’ll tell them where to stick it!”. It was almost fun to watch her rev herself up and let loose on an unsuspecting telemarketer.
A Christmas Eve baby, born in Elkhart, Indiana in 1944, Barb had two sisters, a brother, and a stepbrother. Her parents Harold and Cecil nicknamed her Babs or BeBe. And although she rarely shared stories of her childhood, she did tell about her dad who she wrapped around her little finger quite easily.
Marrying her first husband at the tender age of 17, Barb left her father’s home and became a housewife. Soon after, Tim and Ted arrived, she became a working mother, and then a divorced working mother. Although the marriage ultimately did not last, it was a blessing for Barb as she reflected she would not have her kids otherwise.
Barb’s strength was tested time again as a single mom who supported her sons with any job she could find. Ted will tell you to this day he never went without and his mom worked hard to provide for them. She told us that she thought she would be a single mom for life.
And when she’d given up all hope of finding her prince, Barb met her soul mate, Michael Lutz. Within a few years they married and they made a stable happy home for their blended family. With his daughters and her sons, they moved around Northern California before settling in the Bay area of Sonoma County.
Together Mikey and Barb were members of the Santa Rosa Roseland Lions Club, Rohnert Park Lions Club, and Earl Baum Center. They enjoyed bowling with their friends as well as leagues in Rohnert Park. Barb always felt that together they were unstoppable. Even after she became a caregiver for Mikey when he went blind and was forced into retirement, she was there working and able to stand by her beloved. When Barb would talk about Mikey to her granddaughter, who’d never had an opportunity to meet him, she would talk about his beautiful baby blues. She wept for him each time a favorite Kenny Rogers song came on, or a movie reminded her of him.
After 37 years their love story would be paused until shortly after noon May 6, 2020. The day they reunited. The day we lost and heaven gained. The day we will rejoice for our mom, grandmother, mother-in-law, friend. The day we will grieve for her as well. There wasn’t a day she didn’t talk to her Mikey. Barb had said goodnight and good morning to his picture each day without fail. There is no doubt in our minds that on May 6th she forever said “Good morning, Mikey”.
Barbara is survived by her two sons, Timothy (Devin) Kelley of Colusa, CA and Ted (Shana) Kelley of San Tan Valley, AZ; step-daughters, Cindy Becerra and Michelle Lutz of Santa Rosa, CA; grandchildren, Amanda (Derek) Mason, Kayla Kelley, Erica Tatom, Kyle (Miranda) Kelley, Carinne Sines, Nicole-Marie Kelley, Amanda Kelley, Lloyd Spencer, Max Gaddie, Felicia Spencer, Braden Kelley, Cooper Kelley, Jordan Kelley, Rylan Kelley; and great-grandchildren Lane Sines, Layla Mason, Rylan Kelley, Rowan Duarte, Ethan Mason, Levi Mason.
The family will be holding a celebration of life for Barbara at a location TBD due to the changing environment surround COVID19. The date of the celebration will be June 27, 2020 in San Tan Valley, Arizona. If you would like to attend, please contact the family or watch for updates on www.shanakelleybooks.com.